Department of State Services has invited a spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode, over allegations of a coup plot ahead of the February election.
Fani-Kayode, who is a former minister under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, confirmed the DSS’ invitation in a statement on Monday.
He, however, added that he would honour the invitation.
Last week, Fani-Kayode, in a tweet, alleged that some top army personnel met with some politicians, including the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in a bid to scuttle the February 25 general election.
The APC spokesman added that the meeting might be part of an agenda to provoke a coup and establish a new and unconstitutional order in the country.
Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau, in a statement on Saturday, advised Nigerians to disregard Fani-Kayode’s tweets, stressing the Armed Forces’ loyalty to the constitution.
Gusau also expressed dismay that even politically exposed persons had denigrated themselves by joining agents of destabilisation.
He said, “It needs to be stated that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military that is loyal to the Constitution of the Federal Republic and will never be part of any evil plot against our democracy. Besides, the military remains apolitical and neutral in the current political process and will not engage in the alleged shenanigans.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will never be part of any ignoble plot to truncate our hard-earned democracy.”
But Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Public Communications, Mr Phrank Shaibu, asked the DSS and other security agencies to invite Fani-Kayode to explain his insinuations of a coup d’etat by top army generals and himself.
Atiku wrote, “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered responding to Fani-Kayode who has over the years built a reputation of being an inveterate liar so much so that he was even publicly blacklisted by the Nigeria Union of Journalists after his disgraceful outburst at a journalist.
“However, allegations and insinuations of a coup should not be taken lightly given the fact that it is treason, an offence that carries the death penalty.
“While commending the Nigerian military for effectively rubbishing Fani-Kayode’s barefaced lie, we call on security agencies to invite him to shed more light on the allegations.”
Meanwhile, following the statement by the Defence Headquarters through Gusau, the former minister, in a tweet commended the army for clearing the air on the alleged meeting between army officials and Atiku.
Fani-Kayode wrote, “Happy that the newspaper report I referred to has proved to be FALSE. As I said, “if true”, it would have been troubling. I commend the Military for their commitment to democracy.
“The fact that they can respond so quickly when we raise concerns is encouraging and proves that they are not only responsive and responsible but that we are also on the same page when it comes to civic duties, the rule of law, civilian rule, an open society and democracy.”
He also denied accusing the military of planning to scuttle the election and provoke a coup plot, insisting he had only raised “questions about some rogue officers who, according to media reports, allegedly met with Atiku.
“Thankfully, those reports have been debunked and proved to be unfounded. There is no gain saying that I have implicit confidence in the military and its High Command as an institution and I trust in their commitment to democracy which has been confirmed and proved over the last 24 years since the return of civilian rule in 1999. I would encourage them to continue to be watchful and alert and to continue their good work by supporting, protecting, and sustaining our democracy.”
Atiku’s spokesman, Shuaib, however, rejected Fani-Kayode’s attempt at a recant, describing it as belated.
Fani-Kayode is the Director of Special Projects and New Media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.